Maybe you saw it. Late night talk show host James Corden took a drive around Liverpool, England with Sir Paul McCartney. Corden does this schtick frequently with other celebrities, but for me, this one stood out. Paul McCartney in his hometown.. singing his music with Corden in the car as they drove around together, stopping by Penny Lane, McCartney’s childhood home and surprising unsuspecting patrons at a local pub? It was perfect.
This was a long watch. The segment lasted around 25 minutes – but I smiled all the way through, laughed, and may or may not have cried a little. Yes, it was all that. Then I started thinking about why it was all that and here’s what I came up with.
The Beatles entered my consciousness when I was 10. Magazines and news media covered them relentlessly and their first trip to the US was in February 1964. Their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was nothing short of history making. I couldn’t look away and I was 10 – still into Barbies and horses, but leaning toward those haircuts from Liverpool. It was a sweet mix, that skinny wedge of time between little girlhood and young womanhood.
Over the next decade, they were in my field of vision, but I was never the superfan some were. I liked some of their music, reading about their adventures around the world, and staring at their photos. Then I grew up and the Beatles grew apart.
When they all struck out on their own, my only real interest was McCartney, since he was my favorite to begin with. I also liked the stories I knew about him, including how Linda Eastman, the woman he would be married to for almost 30 years, was really just a fangirl who followed him around. Her photography and breeding got her into places others couldn’t go, but it didn’t matter. Her methods won the day and they lived in the English countryside, had a bunch of children, sang in a band together and were still married when she died of breast cancer in 1998.
McCartney’s love life (which I always kept at least one eye on) involved one failed marriage which produced another child, and then another one to someone he’s still with. I like that he believes in marriage.
When he and Corden drove around Liverpool, they sang Let It Be. Never one of my favorites.. until Paul explained the story behind it. He had a dream during a troubled time in which he saw his deceased mother, assuring him all would be well and to let it be. He wrote a song about that.
The stop at the pub was my favorite part. One would assume that occasionally Paul McCartney might be spotted in Liverpool.. but it didn’t look that way. People in and outside of the pub saw him, came running, took pics, he gave autographs, they all sang together and some were crying.
Why did we all respond that way? Was it just remembering good times and how it was back in the day? That’s probably part of it, but people loved seeing him and the feeling was mutual. Sir Paul and his music provided the soundtrack for so many of our lives. He stood with his guitar in the pub and took requests.. and while he wasn’t 25 anymore, he might as well have been. The feeling of oneness, connection, shared experience and emotion from people of all ages hung like thick drapery in the room.
McCartney said to Corden, “That’s what music does.”
It’s also what an iconic class act does.